Two Gulfport favorites combine forces for the Salty Nun, a new restaurant and bar in downtown St. Pete

Salty Nun does still have the leftover outdoor swings from its horny predecessors.

click to enlarge Salty Nun's outdoor patio. - SALTY NUN / FACEBOOK
Salty Nun / Facebook
Salty Nun's outdoor patio.
The Saint is no longer downtown St. Pete’s only religion-themed hangout spot.

Grand Central just got a brand new restaurant for loaded brunch plates and live music, as the Salty Nun at 2501 Central Ave. celebrated its soft opening last week. St. Pete’s newest restaurant is a combination of two of Gulfport’s most beloved businesses.

Barbara Banno of Stella’s and J.P. Brewer of the recently-closed Salty’s teamed up to bring Gulfport’s laid back attitude to downtown St. Petersburg. The Salty Nun’s bright green and navy blue exterior—colors that Stella’s and Salty’s are known for—is definitely hard to miss.

Stella’s is named after Banno’s aunt, who was a devoted nun for the entirety of her life, hence the collaborative name “Salty Nun.” The new bar and restaurant combines the best aspects of both Stella’s and Salty’s—live music several nights a week, a loaded breakfast and brunch menu, and extensive outdoor seating.

Salty Nun’s brunch menu is stacked with comfort foods like double-stuffed french toast, chorizo biscuits and gravy, shrimp and grits and Cuban eggs Benedict, while its afternoon menu offers late night bites like jalapeno poppers, blueberry chipotle pulled pork sliders and nachos with beer-based queso.

The new restaurant also has a select menu of plant-based options, including Beyond meat-stuffed peppers, vegan breakfast burritos, fried cauliflower and its fried green tomato BLT (without the B, of course.)

Co-owner Barbara Banno tells Creative Loafing Tampa Bay that the duo has plans to expand the Salty Nun’s menu to include more of Stella’s signature dishes like corned beef hash, omelets, and more eggs Benedict options.

J.P. Brewer owned and operated both Salty’s Bar and Salty’s Sandwich Shop in Gulfport until its closures in late 2021. Many bartenders from Brewer’s former bar location are bringing their signature drink recipes to the Salty Nun, which will soon boast a cocktail program.

For now, alcoholic offerings include craft beers, wines, and of course, mimosas.

“Salty’s was known as Gulfport’s neighborhood bar where people could listen to great music and relax,” Banno says. “We want Salty Nun to be a place where people can walk in and forget about their troubles.”

The building at 2501 Central Ave. has hosted a few different restaurants over the past few years. The Queen’s Head, a British-themed pub closed in 2020 and was soon replaced by the short-lived Swingers Patio Bar & Grill.

Salty Nun does still have the leftover outdoor swings from its horny predecessors, in addition to cabanas and a welcoming outdoor patio.

“The idea to open a restaurant together all started years ago over a cocktail—or a few cocktails,” Banno says with a laugh. “J.P. and I always talked about owning a business on Central Avenue, and when we found out that Swingers was available, everything about the location and timing just felt right.”

Grand Central’s newest hotspot is hitting the ground running with a full lineup of live music for the upcoming week, including its first annual St. Patrick’s Day party happening on Thursday, March 17.

The Salty Nun is now open from 5 p.m.-10 p.m. on Thursdays, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. on Sundays, and is closed Monday-Wednesday.

Banno says that she and Brewer have plans to expand the Salty’s Nun’s hours, with a  goal to start breakfast service at 8 a.m.

For a full list of upcoming entertainers that will grace the Salty Nun’s stage and the latest updates on its operating hours, visit its Facebook and Instagram, both at @SaltyNun.

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